The backlash has already begun, even before Sixers lead owner Josh Harris has officially taken possession the New Jersey Devils.

"Harris may be good in business but obviously a 'Sports Idiot,' " tweeted Howard Eskin of 94 WIP and Fox29.

"Still can't understand how #sixers owner josh harris doesn't understand how he will anger phila fans w purchase of #njdevils," he added.

And Ray Didinger of CSNPhilly and WIP agreed about Harris. "He may be money smart - but he's sports dumb, and he's Philly clueless," WIP's Glen Macnow quoted in a tweet.

On the other hand, Brian Startare voiced his approval of a Devils deal on 97.5 The Fanatic on Sunday. "Maybe he can run them into the ground also!" he emailed.

Reports since late last week have billionaire investor Harris emerging as the likely buyer of the debt-saturated Devils, a hated rival to many fans of the Flyers, who like the Sixers, play in the South Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers fans will never forget, for example, how the Devils knocked out the Flyers -- and star center Eric Lindros -- on the way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2000. The Devils also won in 1995 and 2003, while the Flyers' only two titles were back in the 1970s.

Details of the deal might be ironed out this week, with final league approval coming before the hockey season opens in October, according to the Associated Press.

Harris, who went to Penn's Wharton School, was widely hailed as a Sixers fan, when he and about a dozen other investers, including West Philly rapper-turned-film star Will Smith, paid about $280 million for the Sixers in 2011.

"He loves Philly, he loves the people, he loves the culture, and he wants to add value," Harris pal Bippy Siegal told the Inquirer at the time. "He wants to be involved in building a championship franchise there. Period."

Harris clearly, though, is well-rooted in the New York area. He lives there, and that's where the world headquarters is for Apollo Global Managment, the investment firm he co-founded and serves as a senior managing director.

Last week, Harris was part of interviews in New York with four NBA assistants up for the Sixers head coaching job, with San Antonio assistant Brett Brown reportedly accepting an offer.

Some of the buzz has already raised the possibility that Harris might move the Sixers to North Jersey, now that the New Jersey Nets have moved to Brooklyn.

But the Sixers have a difficult-to-break lease of at least 20 years, according to CSN Philly's John Gonzalez.

Then again, don't rule out Harris seeking Garden State support to build a basketball arena in Camden, a "devilish move that could benefit the Sixers," if only by leveraging a better lease deal in Philly, argues Jack McCaffery of the Delco Times.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.